Monday man page: open

Sponsored Links

Monday man page: open
Just a quick hint for today's man page: the open command does just what you might think. It opens files, directories, applications or URLs; no muss, no fuss. For files, you can specify an application to open them with the -a flag (or just trust LaunchServices to pick the right app). If you want to, the -e flag will force them to open in TextEdit.

open ~/Desktop/MyWordDoc.doc [will open in MS Word]
open -e ~/Desktop/MyWordDoc.doc [will open in TextEdit]
open ~/Desktop/*.doc [opens every Word document on the desktop, in Word]
open http://tuaw.com [well, give it a go!]


I use open in installation scripts or other situations where I want a GUI application to come up at the end of a process. For example,

open /System/Library/CoreServices/Software\ Update.app/

launches Software Update and begins checking for available patches. Sure, you can force an update with 'softwareupdate -i -a' anytime, but maybe I want to give the person sitting at the console an opportunity to select the updates needed, or cancel out of the possibly-lengthy update cycle until it's more convenient. You could also use the URL functionality to take people to a 'readme' website... the possibilities are manifold.
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Popular on Engadget